Three nominees from York  in the 2014 WA Heritage Awards came away with high commendations.

The conversion of the old York Primary School to a wellness centre, conservation of the York Post Office and the York Residency Museum's contribution to the local heritage were all recognised in the awards announced last month. In all 12 projects in 11 categories were recognized across the state from Albany to Roebourne.

The judges said the adaptive reuse of the entire old York Primary School as a Wellness Centre had made a significant contribution to the region. The buildings which date from the 1880s to the 1950s, were in a poor condition and needed extensive restoration. The project set precedent for viable commercial use of old buildings. It demonstrated the potential use of historic buildings for the benefit of a community, they said.

Commenting on the restoration of the York Post Office, the judges said the project set a benchmark for the conservation of important buildings in historic York. Built in 1893, it was one of the oldest functioning post offices in Australia. The conservation work included repairing and restoring the stone, brick and timber work, roof, clock tower and clock. The project made a significant contribution to the revitalisation of the main street and ensured the building’s continued use as a post office.

York's Residency Museum was a keystone facility that brought many benefits to the local community, the judges said. It helped support tourism and inspired people to discover their abilities and passions. “The museum is a polished, professional organization achieving good outcomes. "It successfully engages with the Aboriginal and broader community. "It is a role model for regional museums in returning social benefits to a town,” the judges said.

In announcing the awards, Heritage Minister Albert Jacob, said the dominance of regional projects illustrated the importance communities placed on revitalizing and celebrating their heritage. "The Heritage Council awards are becoming a highly sought after and valued accolade," he said.

Lindsay McNeill

TOP: Restoration of all the external elements of the historic York Post Office including stone, brick and timber work, roof, clock tower and clock was highly commended. (Photo: Geoff Bickford)

BELOW: The adaptation of the old York Primary School for use as a wellness centre was highly commended. (Photo: Dayna Reid)